Are schools on the path to become franchise for selling books and uniforms?

My daughters are moving to a new school from this academic year. The younger one moves to first standard and the senior one moves to fifth standard. The school has asked us to come and pick the notebook and uniforms from the school. We went and my experience was as follows. This  experience has been earlier too and this is not limited only for this school and might be worse at other schools also. The following made me acknowledge that schools have become franchise.

My daughters explains that if she does tall class students need to have similar things . Why are we talking consistency from factory in school where there is supposed to be innovation? There is no more opportunity to look at diversity. They do not want to “Think Different”. What is the use that few of us listen to videos of  Apple “Think Different” Series?

On a different note, I see this as innovation in marketing and distribution. Do we want our schools to innovate to find more ways to generate money? Do we want our school children to innovate and find new things.

Uniform (Rs xxxx per child). We do not have break-up per cloth

  • The school has a trial room to test the dress and shoes.  The policy of the school that once sold they cannot exchange or take back clothes and hence the trial room concept. I was not sure whether I was in commercial shop or in a school.  There was a lot of talk about the quality of the uniform for school children.
  • The school was offering the children with Adidas shoes at cost price of Rs 1400. Can a parent in Bangalore not purchase shoes by himself? Should not the school publish shoe color and leave to parent to select shoes? Will there be no difference in price between shoes of different sizes?
  • One pair of socks costs Rs 140 and my wife purchases 4 pairs of socks at Rs 100 on the road and they are good for a year. Why is the cost of socks so high?
  • The receipt provided by the school does not provide sales tax component and price component.  The receipt is in the name of the school  and the voucher used was the Fee Receipt. What is the tax laws applicable to items sold by school in bulk?
  • What will students who join using RTE quota pay this high fees?

Books and Note Books( added to school fees). We do not have break-up per book

  • The school provides pencil, eraser and geometric boxes. My daughter has her last year geometric box in shape and she can continue to use the same. Why does she need a new geometric box?
  • The school has provided dictionary. We already have dictionary and there is Google to search if needed. Why is the school pushing a one more copy of  dictionary ?
  • The school has provided atlas. We have a huge atlas at home and do not need another one. Why is the school pushing one more copy of atlas?
  •  The school provides books. The school is CBSE rated school and the school is not providing the books provided by NCERT. I was able to  go to NCERT- Home EBooks and find that the books provided by the school are different. Let me look positively that  books recommended by the school are better than ones suggested by NCERT and might not be available outside .
  • As part of stationary, the school provides brown wrapper sheets and labels. The brown wrapper is not just paper and is also coated with a coat of synthetic plastic. Schools talk of environment and where does this stand? My daughter points out that there there is Synthetic roll and she points out that the roll is marked Environment friendly. This really made me write this blog. How much are we enabling the child to learn about environment protection? Are we teaching them how to exploit and pollute the environment ? Why can we not use the newspaper to wrap the notebooks? Then we can wrap again when the wrapper gets torn?
  • The labels have funny cartoon characters. Is India has become too poor in pictures? Where are the Indian god figures which are plenty in number? These are the areas to give right picture of Einstein, Galileo and Newton, Ramanujan and make the students curious about them. Why students cannot be encourage to make their own labels? I still remember my mother used to make labels out of paper in typewriter and bring the same. We used to cut the labels and then stick on the books and notebooks. This was a lot of fun and I feel sad that my daughter misses that fun.
  • What will students who join using RTE quota pay this high fees?

Let me stop and pray to God that schools look beyond becoming franchise?